Michalak Crowned First Ever ISPT Champion

Online specialist Jakub Michalak has been crowned the first ever International Stadiums Poker Tour Main Event champion. Despite starting the final day with only the fifth biggest stack of the six remaining players, Michalak put all those hours of practice to good use en route to the biggest win of his career. The original plan was that the winner would walk away with a cool €1 million, but a final table deal done six-handed meant that Michalak picked up €436,000.

Only 761 players signed up for the event at Wembley, someway short of the numbers needed to avoid the dreaded overlay. In the end Dusk till Dawn had to hand over a hefty €589k to make the books balance. The huge overlay meant the pay structure was one of the most top heavy in poker history. A deal was always on the cards but for some it came too late. UK pro Julian Gardner was knocked out in 9th in a cruel runner-runner blow for just €26,520.

With the fifth and penultimate day concluded in a matter of hours after the last 20 players were quickly whittled down to 6, the finalists returned for day six to decide on a winner. The final commenced with Pete Linton owning a commanding lead of some 3.5 million which was converted into €375k when the final table deal was made, while the rest of the players split what was left of the prizepool, leaving an extra €200k to the eventual winner.

The first elimination of the final table was the last remaining female, Gwendoline Janot, after her shove with Td-7h versus Michalak’s Ad-2h didn’t improve. Next to go was Alban Juen when his pocket Jacks were downed by Pete Linton who called with King-Queen only to hit a full house.

Shortly after came the major turning point of the day. It saw two of the big stacks clashing after Linton opened the action from the button with Ad-Qc only to be three-bet by Michalak who held Kd-Jc. Linton returned the favour with a four-bet and the super aggressive Michalak went all in for 17 million hoping to scare off his opponent. Linton called.

Despite Linton being ahead, Michalak had two live cards and when he flopped a King and then turned a Jack, only a Ten could save Linton. The river was a blank and the favourite had to make do with fourth place and €375k. The huge hand meant Michalak was virtually home and dry holding the overwhelming majority of chips left in play.

Using his monstrous stack Michalak went about destroying the rest of the field, first knocking out Nick Hicks after flopping trip Twos and shortly after he got lucky with As-7c against Xavier El Fassy’s Kings thanks to an Ace on the flop. It was an impressive display and the bonus €200k for winning the title meant that the Pole walked away with €436,000 as well as lifting the huge trophy at the home of football.

Despite the huge overlay the ISPT can be considered a success. The players loved the unique environment and Dusk Till Dawn put in a huge effort to make sure it ran smoothly. When they were brought on board the tournament was in jeopardy and they turned it round and made sure it ran without a hitch. Here’s to a bigger and better ISPT in 2014.

Here’s how the final table finished up:

  1. Jakub Michalak – €436,000
  2. Xavier El Fassy – €204,000
  3. Nick Hicks – €254,000
  4. Pete Linton – €375,000
  5. Alban Juen – €290,000
  6. Gwendoline Janot – €243,000
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